National group assists SLED, Allendale deputies in search for missing teen

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November 20, 2006

The search is getting more intense for missing 17-year-old Erica Bradley in Allendale.

The sheriff's office has already turned the investigation over to state law enforcement, but now they're also getting a national agency involved as well.

SLED is looking at blood samples, shoes found in the woods, and evidence taken from Erica Bradley's boyfriend's car.

And now the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is hoping it all helps them with another success story.

Every day the Department of Justice reports 2,185 faces disappear from the watchful eye of their loved ones.

Every day 2,185 families are left sitting, waiting and hoping their child is the one who returns.

Annie Ruth Wright is one of them.

Her granddaughter, 17-year-old Erica Bradley, has been missing for two weeks.

"Every day it's getting a little harder," she told News 12.

Since 1984 the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has helped law enforcement with more than 122,600 missing child cases.

Among them, they've helped find more than 104,900.

That's why the Allendale County Sheriff's Department is now asking them for help.

"A lot of back roads around here that require searches roadside, and the sheriff's department is doing a great job," said Richard Brandes, a consultant with Team Adam.

More than 70 retired law enforcement officers just like Brandes and Lee Manning travel across the country as a part of Team Adam to help authorities in everything from computer forensics to search and rescue.

With their help, a helicopter from SLED was brought down Saturday to help in Erica's search.

Team Adam consultants and the sheriff are meeting behind closed doors at the sheriff's office, brainstorming other strategies the sheriff may have missed in the search for 17-year-old Erica Bradley, who was last seen on Highway 125 arguing with her boyfriend.

NCMEC also provides counseling to victims' families by those who know firsthand what it's like for a child to be missing.

"I don't think anyone really understands this kind of thing unless you yourself go through it you don't know where they are," Manning said.

The Team Adam consultants plan on leaving Allendale today.

They say the sheriff's office has done everything they can and now they just have to wait to see what those lab results might say about where Erica could be.